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News from Stamford, Rutland, Bourne and the Deepings, from up to 200 years ago

Join us for our weekly stroll down memory lane looking at news from up to 200 years ago.

Our Mercury Memories is produced thanks to the support of the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust.

25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Andy Garth (left) presents the Wittering Youth Club shield to junior member Chloe Parker (10) and Gp Capt Chris Moran, joined by youth club members and guests.
25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Andy Garth (left) presents the Wittering Youth Club shield to junior member Chloe Parker (10) and Gp Capt Chris Moran, joined by youth club members and guests.

10 years ago

August 2, 2013

A concerned father has asked fellow parents to warn their children of the dangers of jumping into rivers from bridges.

Gavin Parker, 33, of Reform Street, Stamford, regularly takes his four-year-old son to fish by Tinwell Pumping Station on the River Welland.

The recent spell of hot weather has led to groups of youngsters jumping off the bridge and Gavin is worried it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

He said: “I don't think they realise what the dangers are.

“A few weeks ago the water wasn't too deep but we have had a lot of rain recently and the level has really gone up.

“All it takes is for a weed to get caught round an ankle and that's it – they're under.

“They are not jumping off from massive heights but the current could be quite strong.”

The Mercury went to the bridge with Gavin and spoke to a group of youngsters.

One, a 16-year-old boy, said he came to the river because there was nothing else to do in town.

He added: “Most of us bike or skate but whenever we do that in the street we get told off by police.

“I've never seen anyone get hurt jumping in.”

25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Prize-winning pupils at Copthill School with some of their trophies.
25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Prize-winning pupils at Copthill School with some of their trophies.

Residents are being invited to visit a landfill site at King's Cliffe which last month received permission to double in size for use until 2026.

The controversial proposals were approved by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles following an inquiry by the National Infrastructure Planning Directorate.

Mr Pickles, who described the development as being of national importance, said the expansion of the site was necessary because of demand for landfill capacity.

Residents who formed the King's Cliffe Waste Watchers group had opposed the plans.

The site already has permission to accept low-level radioactive waste.

Augean, which runs the East Northants Resource Management Facility at King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire, says it is keen to show how the new landfill cell is being “engineered to meet the high standards needed to protect human and environmental health”.

50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – The 2nd Wittering (Hunter) Scout Troop ready for camp at the Welsh Jamboree in Bangor.
50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – The 2nd Wittering (Hunter) Scout Troop ready for camp at the Welsh Jamboree in Bangor.

The team behind Stamford's Riverside Festival have called on the public to help decide on a new direction for events in the town.

The Riverside Association of Music and Arts has decided to change direction after a year of financial issues.

The charity was unable to hold the festival this year as it was still dealing with insurers following the last-minute cancellation of the 2012 event due to heavy rain.

Association chairman Kev Thurlby said: “Despite having cancellation insurance in place the costs of cancelling the festival in 2012 have nearly wiped out charity out financially.

“We could never have envisaged it would take so long to sort everything out, but we are still processing the claims arising from 2012.”

Despite these issues the team got involved with the national Our Big Gig event this year and are keen to continue their work.

Secretary Jenny Collins said promoting music and arts would remain the key aim.

She added: “We have put together a long list of possible projects we could look to deliver in future, but before we do anything else we would like to hear what the public and most importantly our local community think - which ideas they like, which they dislike or if they have any other suggestions we could consider.”

50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – Edenham Primary School headmaster Richard Hooper looks at pictures and documents portraying much of the 100 year history with Mr A. Kilby.
50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – Edenham Primary School headmaster Richard Hooper looks at pictures and documents portraying much of the 100 year history with Mr A. Kilby.

25 years ago

July 31, 1998

Angry Stamford residents have demanded action to stop their streets being over-run by vandals, hooligans and thieves.

Policemen, councillors and housing officers were told at a meeting on Tuesday night that it was time they tackled crime head-on.

The meeting was organised by the Stamford (North) Tenants' and Residents' Association.

Chairman Jane Clayton told the audience: “Our main aim is to reduce anti-social behaviour in this town. Hooligans and delinquents are vandalising property and stealing cars. If nothing's done we will have a large criminal element in this town.”

Lincolnshire police have promised to do what they can, but a three-year recruitment freeze will not help. Insp Mick Stuart said: “We are aware of problems in the area and we will always respond to emergencies, but budget cuts may affect our ability to police as well as we would like.

“There's clearly a direct link between crime figures and the level of policing.”

During the meeting at the Essex Road complex many residents claimed to have been terrorized by gangs of youths in the town centre and on housing estates.

Drugs, alcohol and the lack of youth activities were singled out as the prime causes of trouble.

25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Stepping out: Pat Bradley (second from left), regional director of Cancer Research Campaign, with Anne Auchterionie, Anne Spinoza, Laura Francis, Carol Welsh, Ruth Holland and Sue Howard who took part in the sponsored walk which raised £6,000.
25 years ago: July 31, 1998 – Stepping out: Pat Bradley (second from left), regional director of Cancer Research Campaign, with Anne Auchterionie, Anne Spinoza, Laura Francis, Carol Welsh, Ruth Holland and Sue Howard who took part in the sponsored walk which raised £6,000.

Highways officials fear plans for a Stamford bypass could be dropped from the Government's National Trunk Road Review.

The Department of Transport is expected to announce which road schemes will be given the go-ahead later his year, but Lincolshire County Council planners believe Stamford's chances are not good.

John Watson, county environment development officer, said: “The likelihood is there will be a reduction in the programme, with an emphasis on things that can be achieved fairly quickly.

“We have said we think Stamford is important and hope to see a positive conclusion, but it seems likely the decision will be no.”

The transport white paper announced by John Prescott MP this week was not enthusiastic about road building.

Mr Watson believes part of Stamford's problem is its failure to agree on a route for a bypass or relief road.

He compared Stamford's campaign with that in the Deepings. There campaigners and local authorities were united behind one route, and last week a £10,5m bypass was opened.

50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – “They are real tarts” says the Queen of Hearts to other youngsters who took part in the fancy costume competition at Cottesmore fete, on Saturday.
50 years ago: August 3, 1973 – “They are real tarts” says the Queen of Hearts to other youngsters who took part in the fancy costume competition at Cottesmore fete, on Saturday.

Samples from 51 bodies unearthed at Castle Cement, Ketton, will be flown to the USA to discover if they are Roman or Saxon.

Archaeologists announced they had discovered a Roman burial site at a quarry to the north-west of Ketton, but the team has been forced to re-think its findings after discovering Saxon pottery on the site.

Now the experts believe they are on the verge of uncovering the abandoned medieval village of Newbottle.

But to be on the safe side bone samples are due to be carbon dated at laboratories in Florida.

Steve Parry is the senior archaeologist at Northamptonshire County Council. He said: “It is difficult to date graves of this period because there is a lack of archaeological clues.

“There is a decapitated body, which is characteristic of Roman burials, but we have also found Stamford ware pottery, which dates from the 10th and 11 centuries.”

It is now suspected the bulk of the bodies are Saxon (10th/11th century), with just a few Roman graves (3rd century) in the same area.

The foundations of a nearby building are now thought to be Newbottle church, and not a Roman mausoleum.

50 years ago

August 3, 1973

A new church meeting place to replace the Church Rooms, Uppingham, if the Parish Council took them over, might cost as much as £20,000.

This was stated at Monday's council meeting by the chairman (Coun Alan Snodin), who said this figure had been mentioned as a possibilty by the Rector.

Coun Snodin was reporting on the first meeting of the sub-committee appointed to look into acquiring the rooms.

They had met with the agent for the church authorities, who had given them four altenatives: 1 Outright purchase of the rooms; 2 Leasing them; 3 Having a joint managing committee of members of the parish council, the Rector, two churchwardens and whoever else might be co-opted; 4 The Parish Council to give a donation to the church to keep the rooms going.

Said Coun Snodin: “We wanted to know how much a new meeting place for church purposes would cost. Some time ago it had been put at about £6,000 or £7,000.

“We were unable to get a definite figure, but the Rector said it might be as high as £20,000.”

The Clerk (Mr Noel Branston) said it did not appear that there was any possibilty of local grants to aid the purchase of the rooms. Such grants, if available, would only be for upkeep, not for capital expenditure.

He continued: “There is not only the cost of purchase, by whatever method, but also the costs of heating, lighting, cleaning, etc. We are talking about large figures.”

It is understood that job security at the Oakham factory of the Markon Engineering Co Ltd, Long Row, is unlikely to be affected by the takeover of the company and its three subsidaries by Dobson Park Industries Ltd, of Nottingham.

Through its highly succesful operations since it was founded 11 years ago, the workforce at Oakham now exceeds 180. The company's subsidiaries – the Macfarlene Engineering Co Ltd, of Glasgow, Markon Engineering Co (Scotland) Ltd, and Markon Macfarlane Sales Ltd – also employ a considerable number of people.

World-wide demand for the company's electricity alternators has ensured full order books for the foreseeable future and one of the problems in recent years has been finding sufficient labour.

Chairman of the Dobson Park Industries Ltd, Mr Harold Jowitt, emphasised that it was the intention to expand Markon and this should provide greater security for the employees.

D.P.I. had acquired the whole of the issued share capital of Markon for a cash consideration of £1,150,000.

A Careby family lost £250 worth of bedroom fittings in a fire – all because of a mix-up over an electric blanket.

Herdsman Mr Brian Boler (39) and his 35-year-old wife Barbara had stored the blanket away in their home at Maazi Dene.

But it was on the same flex as an electric clock ... it is seems that is how it came to be switched on by mistake.

Mrs Boler discovered the blaze caused by the mix-up when she came home from work on Thursday.

She told the Mercury: I could smell something burning, but I didn't think it was anything too serious.

“I went upstairs and opened the bedroom door and there were flames coming from the bed, and a lot of smoke.

“I closed the door quickly , but the window was open and the fire was being fanned by the air.”

It needed firemen with breathing apparatus to go in among the choking fumes to put out the fire.

100 years ago

August 3, 1923

More Honours For Local Musician – Stamfordians will be interested and glad to hear that Dr. Malcolm Sargent is again appearing at the Queen's Hall Promenade Concerts, on Sept. 3rd and Oct. 4th. He is to conduct three of his own compositions, which have met with such decided success before. This week he is giving a series of lectures in connection with the Summer Vacation Course at Oxford, and next week he is to conduct the British Symphony Orchestra at a musical festival in Wales. We also understand that he had been appointed as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music.

Echo Of Flower Show Of Sixty Years Ago – Our readers may recall that some months ago we gave an explanation of the appearance of two handsome silver medals in the window if Mr. Henry Allen's premises in St. Mary's-street, Stamford. These were facsimiles of awards gained by Mr. James Holah, formerly gardener at Torkington House, and now of Australia, at an exhibition in connection with the old Stamford Horticultural Society held sixty years ago, which had been unfortunately lost. At Mr. Holah's request replicas were cast from the original die, which was in Mr. Allen's possession, and despatched to him by Mr. R. A. Beasley, secretary of the Stamford Allotment Holders' Society, and the latter has now heard from Mr. Holah, who is living at Lakemba, near Sydney, N.S.W., that they have arrived quite safely.

Stamford Swimming Club Sports – These are fixed for Saturday, August 18th.

Holiday Excursions – The London Midland and Scottish Railway Company's list of August Bank Holiday excursions from Stamford is exceptionally comprehensive. A wide selection of bookings will be given for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days, covering many of the principal towns and holiday resorts, including Birmingham Cheltenham, Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Harrogate, Morecambe, Derby, Matlock, Manchester, etc., on Saturday, Augsut 4th, also on Friday, August 3rd, for 4, 5, 8 or 15 days to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and other places in Scotland. Week-end tickets, covering the August Bank Holiday period, will have their availability extended for return on Tuesday, August 7th.

Lady Francis Cecil's Will – Mrs. Edith Tillard (Lady Francis Cecil), of Alford, Somerset, and formerly of Stretton Hall, Oakham, wife of Admiral Philip Francis Tillard, R.N., and widow of Lord Francis Cecil, and second daughter of the late Sir William Cunliffe Brooks, Bart., left unsettled property in her own disposition of the gross value of £9789, with net personalty of £8748.


Charity Trustees – At the monthly meeting on Wednesday afternoon Mr. F. H. Sones, who presided, was re-elected as chairman, the Rev. J. Carvath vice-chairman, and all the committees were re-elected. Some important recommendations were made by the Estates Committee in respect to property of which the lease falls in the next year. Several minor matters with regard to pensions were discussed, amongst them being the aplication of a married couple to have their allowance increased by 15s. per quarter, but it was pointed out that there were a number of such cases, and that one could not be considered without the others, and the Trustees had not the income available for increases of such dimensions. It was decided that the application could not be entertained.

150 years ago

August 1, 1873

The Bishop of Lincoln has postponed the confirmation which he proposed to hold at Stamford on the 16th October. He intends to hold a confirmation here early in the spring for persons resident in Stamford and the adjacent parishes in the diocese of Lincoln, of which due notice will be given.

The three Governors to be nominated by Browne's Hospital for the Stamford Endowed Schools are, we hear, to be appointed on Saturday next, on which day the first meeting of the entire Governing Body will take place. Mr. R. Thompson, jun., will, in all probability, be elected clerk.

At a special meeting on Tuesday last of the managing committee and medical staff of the Stamford and Rutland Infirmary, Mr. Thos. Decimus Paradise, from Guy's Hospital, was unanimously elected house surgeon and secretary to the institution, in the room of Mr. A. Gibbings, who resigned in consequence of ill health.

On Saturday last, at the petty sessions, the Magistrates of Stamford received fron the Rev. H. B. Browning a tender of his resignation of the chaplaincy of the borough gaol. The resignation was accepted, and it was ordered that an intimation of the vacancy should be communicated to the other resident clergy, with a view to receiving applications for the office.

Monday will be observed as a general holiday in Stamford, the tradesmen, merchants, and others having announced their intentions of closing their respective places of business. There is to be a public pic-nic, cricket matches, and excursions by train to different places. The chief trip of the day will be the Oddfellows' and Foresters' excursion to Hull, arrangements having been made for the conveyance of nearly 1000 persons.

A meeting of the Inclosure Committee of the Stamford Town Council was held on Monday, at which was read a voluminous correspondence between the Town Clerk and the valuer (Mr. Bidwell) relative to marking out and stoning the footways across the open fields from Stamford to Ryhall and Tolethorpe. It appears that at the appeal meeting, which was attended by an Assistant Inclosure Commissioner, an agreement was arrived at by all parties that the two footways should be properly set out, and to prevent being ploughed up should be metalled, but the work was stopped and in the meantime some of the occupiers in the fields had ploughed up and in various places completely obliterated the old paths, thus shutting out the public from the old footways. The Town Clerk had urged the completion of the agreement, but got evasive replies. The committee went to survey the line of the pathway, and as they were marking out the old course to Ryhall, Mr. Siddons' workmen appeared, and commenced the process of path making, their order being to construct a rounded path three feet in width. The labour will now be pursued until both paths are finished.


A correspondent remarks that something ought to be done in a town like Oakham to remove the clumps of youths and idlers from the pavements and corners of the streets leading to the church. Many who attended the children's afternoon service on Sunday last were very much annoyed. It seems to be the practice of youths to sit upon the iron posts at the entrance to the Church-lane, and the ladies dresses have to take the place of shoeblacks.

200 years ago

August 1, 1823

The remains of the late Mrs. Pochin, in funeral procession passed through this place on Tuesday from Bosworth Park, for interment at Bourn, in this county.

On Saturday last a fatal accident befel Mr. Robert Martin, son of Mrs. Martin, farmer, of Bulwick, Northamptonshire. A horse which he was riding to fetch upsome cows, being alarmed at the noise of the milk-buckets which he was carrying, plunged and fell with him, thereby so much injuring Mr. Martin on the head that he died in consequence on Monday, in the 34th year of his age.

An inquest was held on Saturday the 19th ult. at Pilsgate, by Mr Hopkinson, coroner for the Soke of Peterboro', on view of the body of Thos. Shotley, a fine boy aged two years, who having been left by his mother for a few minutes playing at the door, strayed into the horse-pond, where he was instantly suffocated. Verdict, accidental death.

On Saturday late, at Bourn Town-hall, John Tyler, of Swayfield, mason, aged 17 years, was finally committed (by Thos. B, Reynardson, Esq.) to Lincoln Castle, to take his trial at the next assizes upon the capital charge of abusing Ruth Ann Spridgen, a child under nine years of age, in the parish of Creeton, on Saturday the 12th ult.

Caution of Publicans – On Saturday last William Warren, publican, of Swayfield, was convicted by the Magistrates at Bourn Town-hall, in a penalty (with costs) for keeping open his house at undue hours of the night on the 14th of July. Mr. Whattoff, of Swayfield, who instigated the prosecution, gave one moiety of the penalty to which he was entitled, to the poor widow of the man who was slain in an affray after sitting up all the above night at Warren's house. At their previous meeting, the magistrates acquinted several publicans whom they had an opportunity of summoning for that purpose, with the provisions of the late Act of Parliament for regulating public-houses, and the penalties incurred by keeping houses open at undue hours, whereby riotous proceedings are almost always produced.

On Friday last, Joseph Best was committed to the gaol of Boston, to hard labour for one calendar month, for neglecting to maintain his wife and family.

To be Sold by Auction,

By Mr. Dewar,

On Monday the 11th day of August, 1823, and three following days, upon the premises of the late Henry Fryer, Esq. St, Martins, Stamford Baron,

The valuable Library of upwards of Two Thousand Volumes of spendidly embellished Books, chiefly in superb bindings, Portfolios of very fine and scarce Engravings by the most esteemed ancient and modern Masters, collection of fine Prints and Drawings, framed and glazed, and a few Paintings.

And on the following Monday, the 18th of August, and three following days,

The valuable Household Furniture and Effects; consisting of pier and chimney glasses, of large dimensions; cabinet of rare and curious articles, beautiful chime clock, seven hundred ounces of plate, fine old wines; commodes, bookcases, wardrobes; dining, card, and pembroke tables; sideboard; Brussels, Venetian, and Kidderminster carpets; sets of mahogany and japanned chairs; four-post and tent bedsteads, with moreen hangings, feather beds, bedding, table and ben linen; moreen and cotton window curtains; china and glass, kitchen utensils, large lead water cistern, brewing utensils, sweet casks, and numerous other effects.

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